G-S-T Top 10 – Movies Off The Beaten Path…Round 3

Going just a bit deeper in to my movie memory and scanning GoSeeTalk’s “Sacred Shelves” and Netflix Instant for some recommendations I’ve lined up 10 more films you may have overlooked. Keep in mind that these aren’t snubbed Oscar winners, but they all have something we think makes them worth watching at least once. Hope you find a few unexpected winners in this batch. Continuing the series, I give you the 3rd Round of “Movies Off the Beaten Path“…

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The Way of the Gun – More like the under-appreciated little brother of the The Usual Suspects, this Christopher McQuarrie penned film should derive more attention than it gets. Gun was highly overlooked probably because its leads didn’t exactly scream star power. Who could take Philipe seriously and Benicio Del Toro, while gifted, was still making a name for himself at the time. While I think Del Toro did not deserve the Oscar win for Traffic (he was hardly in the effen movie) he totally deserves applause for his turn in this film. He (with help from McQuarrie’s dialog) just makes this movie work.

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Dead Man on Campus – Here is it folks, the one chance to see a non-”Saved by the Bell” Zack Morris in a decent role…well before he was in the TV show Raising the Bar, that is. It’s quirky, dark and looking back, it seems the 90′s were way too saturated with both plaid and shiny clothing/outfits. Plus one of the more bizarre yet memorable side characters is that of Cliff O’Malley…pretty sure every frat boy had a poster or t-shirt with this guy’s face on it.

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Don’t Say A Word – While people may never ever consider picking up this so-called “thriller” starring Britney Murphy (of all people), in this case, looks really can be deceiving. Sean Bean, Michael Douglas and an immobile Famke Janssen make for one hell of a movie, but it’s Murphy who’s hypnotic portrayal really steals the movie from the above talent (I know, I was shocked too). I’m glad I took a chance on this…oh and while we’re on the subject of Brittney, Love and Other Disasters wasn’t bad either.

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Playing By Heart – This is a story of eleven seemingly unrelated characters, their journeys to find love, and how their lives become entangled along the way. It’s a fun ride that opens with a monolouge perfectly delivered by a young Angelina Jolie, whose character Joan steals the show, and coined the quote “talking about love is like dancing about architecture,” the sentence that actually inspired Director Willard Carroll to write the screenplay, after a friend said this to him. The film is a tapestry of love stories woven together as the characters dance around each other, and Carroll plays the architect putting the pieces together. It’s not a masterfully designed plan, but it is worth taking a look.
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Lucky Number Slevin - Marc did an ‘Off the Shelf’ write up for this a little ways back, but I totally agree with his sentiments and still think it’s worth a look if you’ve never seen it.
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For Lovers Only – We’re throwing a couple of foreign independent films in here because there a lot of real gems on Netflix that you shouldn’t pass over just because you’re afraid of the subtitles. This French New Wave inspired film  is the study of two lovers, who after many years of separation, have a chance encounter in Paris. The Polish Brothers wrote and directed the film in a way that invites the audience to be involved in the conversation of the story as it plays out in front of them. So, if you’re looking for a film that you can turn on but not really tune in to, this one’s probably not for you, but if you’re in the mood for something different and engaging you should definitely give this film a chance.
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Shade - I put this on the list for Marc because he LOVES Sylvester Stallone and will see anything he’s in to a fault. For a low budget film, this has quite a lot of high dollar (some might say washed-up) talent and the script is actually quasi-clever. It probably would work better as a Broadway play but Shade has bit of a twist ending that should make you go “Hmmm“. Sadly, it pales on repeat viewings but like I said, it’s good enough to watch once.—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Last Night – This film came out only a little over a year ago to so-so reception, but I think writer/director, Massy Tadjedin, touches on some truths that make it interesting. Keira Knightly and Sam Worthington play a married couple who, after four years of marriage and several years of dating before, have found themselves in a stage of their relationship where they can just as easily imagine what their lives may be like with someone else. One night away from each other, they both question the choices they’ve made that brought them to this point as they are both confronted with temptation and their inevitable desires.  The film raises its own questions about monogamy and whether this is an institution we should strive for, or merely an unattainable fantasy, and it doesn’t come up with any easy answers.
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Adrift – This Brazilian film examines an unhappy marriage from the perspective of the couple’s teenage daughter, as she is undergoing her own changes while trying to make sense of her world. The story of the young girl, Filipa, and the performance by the lovely Laura Neiva who plays her, is what makes the film worth watching. Filipa attempts to come to terms with her own understanding of what love means, while watching her parents love fall apart.
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Smoke - This is a movie about a little cigar shop in Brooklyn, and the lives of four characters that the shop ultimately brings together. It really is a must see, it’s a smart movie with a lot of heart, and with all the philosophical sub-text writer Paul Auster put into the script, we bet you’ll want to watch this one more than once.
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So that’s the end of Round 3…we strayed all over the 90′s and early Y2K but we sure had some fun. Has anyone seen these above films or care to defend (or similarly bash) any of these??

  • RidgeRacer4

    Hey Jessica, nice grabs from the Way Back machine…and thanks for the nod to Stallone (although tis a pity he’s not it in very much). I remember liking Smoke the first time I saw it, but it’s been a while. Probably need to check that out again.